“Studies on Twilight Phenomena: After the Krakatau Eruption” by Eduard Pechuël-Loesche

Studies on Twilight Phenomena

One of the most destructive and deadly volcanic events ever recorded occurred on August 27th, 1883, on a tiny island in Indonesia. The explosion of Krakatoa was heard over 3,000 miles away.

Beyond the horrible immediate effects devastation (the eruption caused 36,000 deaths), a huge plume of debris and ash was propelled into the upper atmosphere. This caused many interesting optical effects were reported from all over the world.

The oddly glowing skies extended for many years and captivated both scientists and artists who often worked in tandem to record and understand the phenomena.

A great example of this is a German book from 1888 — Untersuchungen über Dämmerungserscheinungen: zur Erklärung der nach dem Krakatau-Ausbruch beobachteten atmosphärisch-optischen Störung (“Studies on twilight phenomena: to explain the atmospheric-optical disturbance observed after the Krakatau eruption”).

Written by the German physicist Johann Kiessling, the book includes a series of chromolithographs (made from watercolor images) by the German naturalist and painter Eduard Pechuël-Loesche.

Cloud Shadow With Red Diffusion Light During the Disturbance Period (Midday) — Jena, April 24th 1884

The Bishop’s Ring (Midday) — after an image by Mr Busch, summer, 1884.
Purple Light in Regular Development (Evening) — South Atlantic Ocean, December 2nd 1884
Circular Twilight Glow at Sunrise — Hereroland (present-day Namibia), September 4th 1884
Earth Shadow and Anti-twilight [Belt of Venus] With Twilight Rays Converging After the Counterpoint of the Sun — after an image by Mr Busch, summer, 1884
Cloud Shadow After the Disturbance Period (Midday) — Jena, September 10th 1887
Multicolored Twilight Glow at the End of the Rainy Season (Evening) — Loango Coast (present-day Republic of Congo) April 13th 1876
Red Sunset at the End of the Rainy Season (Evening) — Loango Coast (present-day Republic of Congo) April 1st 1875
Violet Twilight Glow at the Time of the Grass Fires (Evening) — Loango Coast (present-day Republic of Congo) April 13th 1876

More Good Things

Seven Good Things is a weekly list of positivity & creativity. Get it delivered to your inbox every Friday.